NEWCASTLE: Beating Manchester United did little to exorcise Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup demons, according to striker Alexander Isak.
However, the Swede believes the three points can be the catalyst to the Magpies ending the Premier League season with a Champions League spot to their name.
Sunday’s win over the Red Devils saw Newcastle climb above the side which ended their dreams of a trophy less than five weeks ago when Erik ten Hag's men won 2-0 at Wembley.
Roles were reversed at St James’ Park, though, with the Magpies the aggressors and goals from Joe Willock and Callum Wilson seeing Newcastle leapfrog their illustrious opponents in the race for the top four.
Newcastle now sit in third spot — which can only alter with a Tottenham win at Everton on Monday night — with just 11 games left to play.
And while Isak admits the win does not make up for the side’s Wembley woes, he says it does go some way to helping to achieve the club’s ambitions.
He said: “Hopefully [we can get top four], we can use this win as a boost.
“We won’t talk too much about it; we will just take one game at a time and get the results we need.
“They still got the cup. We wanted that cup and didn’t get it. This win was still important; they are a direct rival for us in the table. It was nice to get the three points.”
Prior to the encounter in February, Manchester United boss Ten Hag was vocal in his criticism of Newcastle’s style, saying that Eddie Howe’s team were negative and “annoying,” using time-wasting tactics to achieve their aims.
The former Ajax boss doubled down on that last Friday when he said of the Magpies: “We know they delay.”
This incensed head coach Howe, who, uncharacteristically, went on the attack against Ten Hag, defending his players and their style.
Howe said: “I want to make one thing very clear: We want the ball in play. We want a quick game.
“I don’t get where this time-wasting nonsense has come from because it’s not us and you saw today, we wanted the ball back in play as quickly as possible. High energy, high tempo.
“I’ll always stand up for my team. I’ll always stand up for what I believe is right, and that’s what I’ll always do.
“I think if something’s not accurate then naturally you want to put the right point across. As I said, we want the ball in play, that’s the type of team we are.”
Isak stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his manager’s impassioned defense.
He said: “We worked with intensity and we were the team that wanted to win.
“We were the team that wanted to bring the game forward. They wasted more time than us. I don’t put too much focus on that. I think we put in a great performance.
“This was the best [performance] I’ve been involved in here. Obviously I’m not really sure about all of the performances this season.”
He added: “I should have scored. It was a good save but I don’t really think too much about that after the win. That’s football sometimes.
“We all felt that we could have gone in at halftime with a 2-0 lead or even more, but we said at halftime as long as we create chances, eventually the ball will go in if we stay positive and keep going. My goal is simply to be part of a winning side.”